Bodey Dittloff, 23 April 2016
A MAN tried to set himself alight at a busy petrol station on the Geelong Ring Road, putting customers and staff at risk and sparking a siege situation at the Lovely Banks site.
Emergency services were called to the southbound BP service station shortly after 4pm Saturday, where they attempted to negotiate with the man before moving in to handcuff him.
Staff at the site said it was a tense situation and pumps had to be shut down after the man tried to use one of them to douse himself with petrol. It’s believed the man took a lighter from the shop.
Worker Yash Kaleru said the situation escalated “very fast” during a busy period at the service station.
He said some quick-thinking customers grabbed a fire extinguisher in case they needed to help save the man.
“I’ve worked for three years in petrol stations, so I’ve not seen anything like this any time,” Mr Kaleru said. “It was a bit scary because he had lighters and in a petrol station, if anything happened to the fuel — total boom.”
Mr Kaleru said the man came into the store and snatched a bottle of engine oil too.
“He took it and I just ran after him and tried to grab it,” Mr Kaleru said.
“ ‘You f—— do not touch me’, he was screaming at me. I directly called 000, my friend also called. He stood near our diesel pumps and he was trying still to lift the pumps, but we stopped all the pumps already.”
Mr Kaleru said police worked to calm the man for about 20 minutes before taking action, and fire crews also attempted to douse him with water to prevent any ignition.
Police would not comment yesterday on specific details surrounding the siege.
A Barwon Health spokesperson confirmed that a man was admitted to Geelong hospital on Saturday for assessment and treatment.
Anyone with personal problems, can contact Lifeline on 131 114.
Extracted in full from the Geelong Advertiser.